Welcome to EXPlay, (Explain & Play) the review series where we care not for scores but tell it how it is when it comes to every game we get our hands on, whilst also taking the time to include some lengthy gameplay, to give you the reader, the chance to shape your own impressions and views whilst watching and reading. In this installment, we’re covering KeyWe by developer Stonewheat & Sons.


KeyWe: (The Explanation)

If you are looking for a creative game with a unique cast of characters, look no further than KeyWe. You play as either Jeff or Debra, two Kiwi birds replying to a job listing to work at the local post office. Upon taking on the job the postmaster general will assign you a variety of tasks from writing and sending letters, shipping packages, loading up crates, and more. 

Each level in KeyWe has a different game mechanic to it. At the Telegraph Desk work together with your partner to type up messages using an elaborate keyboard machine. Variations on the map include overgrown vines and Kiwi-eating plants, a change of letters using code, and more. The Transcription Room tasks you with sending letters by using ‘ransom note’ like pieces of the words together onto a notepad and placing them in a Cassowarie’s pack as mail. On the Shipping Floor, you will need to read a letter with clues on how an item should ship via Urgent, Heavy, Fragile, and Perishable stickers. Each package has a place it needs to be delivered to requiring a four-digit code and either North or South designation.

You control either Jeff or Debra with the left-control stick moving your bird around the level. With ZL you can chirp your Kiwi which can be used to signal mail read to be sent, plead for Cassowaries to stop fighting, and play the Tuba in one of the levels. ZR allows you to dash Jeff and Debra which can be helpful to move quickly around the level or jump with a dash to reach a far away platform. Your main buttons of X, Y, and A allow you to peck, butt-slam, and jump respectively. Depending on the level you are in, you may need to use all of the buttons which can be quite frantic when up against the timer.

Cooperative games like KeyWe require communication and teamwork. If you have ever played Overcooked, Tools Up!, or Moving Out you will be familiar with the gameplay hook of KeyWe. Each level has time to beat in a Bronze, Silver, and Gold rating. The higher your rating the more stamps you get. 

Stamps can be turned in to customize your Kiwi with new facewear, hats, skis, backwear, and hairstyles. You will need to play each level many times to gain enough stamps and unlock everything. Some items are hidden behind clear states of the various seasons: Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring; or by finding hidden items within certain locations. Each item helps you customize your Kiwis look from chef & top hats, aviator glasses, a snorkel, a snowman head, and more.

On top of the main levels, there are Overtime shift minigames you can take on. These games offer a departure from the main correspondence and shipping style main game. Within each level there are new objectives like popping bubble wrap, racing on top of a Cassowarie while delivering the mail, keeping the water level from rising with an octopus tank, and more.

KeyWe exudes a fun-filled appeal for families. Though the game is only two players there is a ton of fun to have. I played the game locally with my wife for hours on end for review. There is an online mode, though I did not try it out. If you are looking for a cooperatively fun game with frantic puzzle-solving, KeyWe is one of the best I have played in years.


KeyWe: (The Gameplay)

Game Specifications:

KeyWeDeveloper: Stonewheat & Sons
Publisher: Sold Out
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Indie, Party, Multiplayer, Puzzle, Platformer
No. of Players: up to 2 players
Release Date: August 31, 2021 (EU & NA)
File Size: 1.4 MB Listing

By jonathanober

Jonathan is a husband to Leigh, father to Morgyn and Bailey, an avid WordPress user, a website designer/developer, Eagles football fan, and a video gamer. Jonathan cut his teeth on the Commodore 64, NES, and Gameboy and hasn't looked back since. Jonathan has owned nearly ever Nintendo system and handheld to date. His favorite series include: Legend of Zelda, Mario, and Donkey Kong.

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